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Spectronics, maker of fluorescent dyes, to move to Melville with IDA tax breaks

Jon Cooper, president of Spectronics at the Westbury

Jon Cooper, president of Spectronics at the Westbury facility which makes leak detection products. Credit: David L. Pokress

Suffolk County is offering $940,600 in tax breaks over 15 years to keep a manufacturer of fluorescent leak-detection dyes and hand sanitizer on Long Island.

The county’s industrial development agency is helping Spectronics Corp. to move from Westbury to Melville, instead of out of state. The family-owned company has been courted by economic developers from Ohio and Georgia.

However, Spectronics president Jon Cooper said the family prefers to stay here, where his father and uncle invented the leak detection technology that’s now used in automobiles, refrigeration equipment, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems around the globe.

Cooper said Spectronics “did explore the possibility of relocating to Ohio and Georgia, and the cost structure in both of those states is an awful lot lower than Long Island. But for us, there is more than just the bottom line because we do think of our employees as family. So, we wanted to try and find a way to remain on Long Island,” he told the IDA board last week.

Cooper is a former Democratic majority leader of the Suffolk County Legislature.

Spectronics plans to move from its longtime home at 956 Brush Hollow Rd. in Westbury to 135 Maxess Rd. and 265 Spagnoli Rd., both in Melville.

The Maxess Road building will be purchased and renovated for use as an office, costing $6 million. A portion of the Spagnoli Road building will be rented for use as a factory and warehouse, and the renovations will be paid for by the landlord. The facilities are less than two miles from each other.

Together, the buildings total 66,240 square feet compared with Spectronics’ Westbury base, which is 94,750 square feet.

Cooper said the 65-year-old company needs less space because of the sale of its ultraviolet testing lamps and radiometers division to the private-equity investment firm Ten Oaks Group in Charlotte, North Carolina, for an undisclosed amount. Ten Oaks plans to form a new company, Spectro-UV in Farmingdale, which will take on most of the division's 45 workers.

Cooper said Spectronics would move 95 employees to Melville and create 11 jobs within two years. They earn, on average, $71,740 per year, records show.

Without IDA tax breaks, he said, “it would not be viable for us to consider staying on Long Island.” He said the company plans to focus all its research and development dollars on new leak detection products and to “bring them to market more quickly.”

The IDA board gave preliminary approval for a tax deal consisting of a sales-tax exemption of up to $124,930 on the purchase of construction materials, fixtures and furnishings, and property-tax savings of $815,640 over 15 years, or a 29% reduction.

IDA board secretary Anthony Giordano said Spectronics deserves the agency’s help, in part “because of how well you treat your employees."

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